At the start of any new year, one of the objectives I focus on with my students is a goal-setting activity. I love using creative ways for students to reflect and project their future goals.
Today I share several creative and intentional goal-setting activities to help students with their goal-setting process.
Step 1: Reflect on the past.
The first step in any goal-setting activity is to have students reflect on their past year. With the start of a new season, be it the beginning of a new calendar year or school year, I love having students reflect on their past using open-ended questions.
Open-Ended Goal-Setting Reflection Questions:
- “Looking back on this year, I learned…”
- My favorite part of this year was…”
- “This past year, I learned not to…”
These open-ended questions are perfect for helping students self-assess how the year went for them, which is an essential part before students jump into any goal-setting activity.
Step 2: Assess the present.
After reflecting on the past, students need to assess what support systems and good habits they already possess to help them feel more successful when planning their future goals.
Overcome a Common Goal-Setting Trap:
Often, when we get into the habit of goal-setting, we focus on all the bad that needs to be corrected. However, I love helping students see the good around them so that they feel empowered and supported when planning their future intentions.
One way I help students assess their current self is through a gratitude-themed goal-setting activity. As counselors, we know the medicine to mending social-emotional wounds for students is to incorporate thankfulness into any process.
Gratitude and thankfulness new year goal-setting activities are perfect additions to incorporate into your traditional goal-setting activities and even your S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting activities. Remember, this step does not need to be elaborate, but even merely having students list out “10 Things They are Thankful for,” can make a tremendous difference.
Step 3: Reflect on future goals.
The last step in the goal-setting activity is to have students reflect on their future plans. These future plans can be broken down into short-term and long-term goals or reflect their big picture goals and dreams.
I always try to incorporate creative elements when having students engage in goal-setting activities. Some educators like to have students create vision boards, but if you are short on time or want a resource that you can implement quickly, I have some options for you! One way I accomplish this is to have them draw out their present and future goals.
Fun Ways to Engage in Future Planning
This summer-themed goal-setting activity page is excellent for short-term goal-setting.
This college-themed goal-setting activity is perfect for long-term goal-setting. I also love this resource from College Board that asks students 10 Questions to Help Students Discover Their Future. You can use this open-ended worksheet to add in the answers too!
By offering various types of goal-setting activities, you can provide students with many differentiated options that help them visualize and break down their goals. If you want the shortcut to having many choices, check out my Goal Setting New Years 2021 Reflection Worksheets Set!
Here are some other resources that can help you engage students in intentional reflection and discussion!
- Goal-Setting: 100 Conversation Starters
- Growth Mindset: 100 Conversation Starters
- Distance Learning | College Introduction Lesson
What goal-setting activities are you incorporating into your curriculum this year? Connect with me on Instagram @collegecounselortraci and let me know!
Looking for more goal-setting activities for students like this one?
Grab yourself a copy of my goal-setting sampler pack! It includes goal-setting pages like the ones mentioned here. Each activity included can be used all-year-round!